Settle a bet


  #1  
Old 04-06-04, 06:19 PM
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Cool Settle a bet

I'm working on rewiring an older home with a friend of mine, who is an electrician (journeyman).
I'm just a DIY, but I've read up as much as possible. He was suggesting we push in the wire on the back of the receptacles, and I said the things I've read suggested otherwise. I showed him the book I got it out of (also the inspector I got the permit from mentioned the same thing- so either way I'm doing it the way he told me to do it), and my friend said no one he works with uses the screws, they all use the push in option.

What do the rest of the electricians out there usually do?

By the way, this friend of mine usually works commercial, and said maybe this is the difference.
Since we put a $20 bet on this, I'm hoping he's just hedging his bet and trying to weasel out of paying.

Thanks to whomever feels like putting their 2¢ in.
 
  #2  
Old 04-06-04, 06:44 PM
bungalow jeff
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If he uses commercial recepticles with screws to clamp the push in wires, then yes it is a good connection and quick. If he is using residential cheapies with just a bent piece of copper to hold the wire in place, then it is a poor connection.
 
  #3  
Old 04-06-04, 07:29 PM
cfitts
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Exclamation Back stabbing BAD!

I replaced several receptacles in my home using the push in "back stabbing" method. It was faster and easier at the time. I was away for a weekend this winter and my wife called me to tell me that the lamps and the TV in our living room were not working, but there were no tripped circuits at the panel. She wiggled a lamp wire at the outlet... when she did this the lamp 10 feet away from her flashed on and off. I told her to shut off the switches and not to use that room. I told her to call one of my good friends who is a master electrician, (and beleive me this guys is anal!) to come check out the situation. He came right over and let's just say he had some choice words for me when I got home. His exact words were "Never Ever use the back stabbing method!". He said it was an unreliable connection at best. He said to always use the screws. Make hooks in a clockwise direction and srew them in tightly. Since then I have been roughing in new electrical in my basement and I bought more leviton recepticals for my basement and I read the instructions with regard to the push in feature. It said to only use the push in feature with good 14 awg wire. Using any other gage wire may result in a poor connection and possible short circuit. Don't take the easy way out. Do it right. Use the screws.
 
  #4  
Old 04-06-04, 09:04 PM
P Michael
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I concur with Bungalow Jeff.
You should win the $20.
~Peter
 
  #5  
Old 04-06-04, 09:29 PM
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I agree with Jeff since hes doing commercial work hes probably using spec grade devices which don't have stabs but a sandwichplate for connections
 
  #6  
Old 04-06-04, 09:45 PM
J
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Unfortunately residential wiring has slim profit margins. The difference between using the screws and using the backstabs may make the difference between winning the bid and losing it, or making money or not. You can lament this all you want, but it doesn't seem to go away. Most homes I see are backstabbed.

Having said that, I'll guess that few electricians use the backstabs when working on their own houses.

Understand that there is very little debate over which method produces the better connection. In my opinion, that isn't even a discussion worth having.
 
  #7  
Old 04-06-04, 10:22 PM
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Ok, more fuel for the fire. The plugs I got are high end, so he was looking at the box they came in...and then I guess thinking of personal experience. Usually works with all metallic clad and I understand he doesn't normally work with NM. Still, it's a buddy and we do have a bet.

Once again, thanks to everyone who voices an opinion!
 
  #8  
Old 04-07-04, 04:43 AM
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I'm with Bungalo Jeff on this.

There are _two_ different ways to wire receptacles from the back. Some receptacles have little holes that you push the wire into, and springs grab the wire, and this is considered the 'connection'. Lot's of people call this 'backstabbing'. This sort of wiring option is only found on low end residential grade receptacles, and can only be used with 14ga solid wire. These connections _are_ UL listed, and _do_ meet code, but the consensus is that these connections are trash.

The other way is found on commercial and industrial receptacles of middle grade on up. It is called 'back wiring', and is what gets used in commercial service, especially if _stranded_ wire is being used. In these receptacles, you have holes in the back, near where the screws are. To use these, you push the wires into the holes, and then tighten the screws. The screws pull on pressure plates which clamp onto the wire. IMHO this sort of connection is as good as wrapping the wire around the screw post, and if you are using _stranded_ wire, then IMHO this sort of connection is _better_ than using the screw post.

My opinion: settle the bet based on the receptacles that you've bought. If they are 'backstab' receptacles, then you win, if they are commercial 'backwire' receptacles, then your friend wins

-Jon
 
  #9  
Old 04-07-04, 06:08 AM
noxx
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I'm tempted to say I only use stak-ons on receps just to further muddle the issue.

Seriously tho, pigtailing and sidewiring are the methods to use on residential grade devices if you want a sound connection. There's really no two ways about it.
 
  #10  
Old 04-07-04, 08:03 AM
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Consider two concerns- the "continuity" of the Branch-Circuit, and eventual device-re-placement.

If you have 2 Blacks and 2 Whites at a receptacle-outlet and connect the Branch-Circuit conductors directly together, the connection is "permanent"--- if you terminate the conductors on device terminals, the connection is "semi-permanent". A defective device-connection will "open" the circuit and you may have to remove all the receptacles to locate the break. You will also open the circuit when you have to re-place a receptacle.

If your friend will provide you with stranded #14 THHN wire, a crimp-tool, and crimp-lugs, you can "pre-wire" the receptacles with connection-leads which are simply Wire-Nutted to the pre-connected B-C conductors.

To re-place a receptacle so connected, you simply loosen 2 screws, and then tighten 2 screws, without opening the circuit.

Good Luck and Enjoy the Experience!!!!
 
  #11  
Old 04-07-04, 08:33 AM
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PATTBAA,

I find your post troublesome.

When a homeowner is replacing a receptacle outlet, they should do so with the power off. This means that the circuit is open for a short time anyway. (I recognize that you are using a different definition for the word open, but since the power should be off, the definition is of little value).

With two black wires and two white wires in a junction box, it is much easier (in my opinion) and faster (you don't have to make the pigtail) to use both screw terminals on the each side of the receptacle, rather than a wirenut and a pigtail to the receptacle. This also makes the box less crowded.

The only time saving comes into play when you have to replace the receptacle. I'm willing to sacrifice the little bit of saved time in the future for an easier connection now.

If you have three wires for a receptacle, your method is faster, as you need the pigtail anyway, but for two wires, I will use my way, and continue to recommend it. I think most do-it-yourselfers would agree.
 
  #12  
Old 04-07-04, 09:34 AM
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Oh no! Not this topic again!!
 
  #13  
Old 04-07-04, 12:17 PM
noxx
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Originally posted by racraft
PATTBAA,

With two black wires and two white wires in a junction box, it is much easier (in my opinion) and faster (you don't have to make the pigtail) to use both screw terminals on the each side of the receptacle, rather than a wirenut and a pigtail to the receptacle. This also makes the box less crowded.
However this method presents a code violation on a multiwire branch circuit. Pigtailing is the proper method to use.
 
  #14  
Old 04-07-04, 01:03 PM
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If you have "two black wires and two white wires" in a box, it is extremely unlikely that you are dealing with a multiwire circuit.
 
  #15  
Old 04-07-04, 02:10 PM
hotarc
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I'm sure this won't be well received, but the wiring in my 30 year old house was done exclusively with the backstab connections. And NONE of them have failed. However, I will say that when I do replace any switches or receptacles, I always use the side screws. For one thing, the new devices do not accept 12 gauge in the backstab holes, plus I realize that it is a more secure connection. Although for someone who is not able to form the loops correctly, the backstabs might even be a better choice.
 
  #16  
Old 04-07-04, 02:43 PM
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My house is also wired with backstabs (except the wiring I did), and none of them have failed either. However, backstabs routinely fail for people who push their circuits to the limit, such as running space heaters, high-powered hair dryers, spare freezers in the garage, etc.
 
  #17  
Old 04-07-04, 02:43 PM
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Actually hotarc, I have never seen a backstab failure either, and quite a bit of my house is done that way.
 
  #18  
Old 04-07-04, 04:03 PM
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In my experience Hotarc is the exception. This is a hotly debated topic but I overwhelmingly get the "don't back stab" opinion. Racraft, your house is one thing, seeing hundreds of homes, businesses & industry a year is another.

I have had to repair way more than I can remember. Several in NEW homes, with new devices, wired correctly.

Just like the wire twisting issue. I just today had ANOTHER melted wire nut from a bad connection due to not pre-twisting the wires!
UH-OH, here come the worms!
 
  #19  
Old 04-07-04, 04:24 PM
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Give me a break, I didn't say that using backstabs was a good thing, and I don't use them myself. However, many people do use them (as evidenced by the problems posted here). And I also realize that my own house is a very small sampling.
 
  #20  
Old 04-07-04, 07:22 PM
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YOU WILL WIN THE BET TIE A PIECE 2POUND FISHING LINE TO A SCREW THEN TELL YOUR BUDDY TO TAKE A PIECE OF FISHING LINE LAY IT ON A TABLE AND USING A BUTTER KNIFE HOLD DOWN ON THE LINE NOW BOTH OF YOU PULL . ALSO TELL YOUR BUDDY THAT I WILL BE GRADUATING IN ABOUT A MONTH AND MY INSTRUCTOR HAS TAUGHT US NEVER TO USE THE BACKSTABS
 
  #21  
Old 04-07-04, 11:19 PM
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RussellN114,
you have the best analogy for backstab I have ever come accross!
I graduated from a tech school a year ago for elec as well.
Since then I have 'officially' swithed to the computer world, however do electrical on the side. I consider it a backup career that will always be there in the event the the computer industry becomes too self-managed or outsourced. Those silly microsoft adds showing that windows 2003 server requires less people/hours only reduces the hours of pay, and then outsourcing steals the jobs.

My 2 cents: screw terminals, backwire (under screws) when available on commercial receptacles. To be fair, base it upon the combination of the devices purchased and his primary type of jobs (commercial, correct?). However are you wiring a house? That is also fair game for argument.
I am not much help to your cause because I always use commercial or better no matter what the application, and frequently use backwire because it is easier, and the screw head sits lower.

gj
 
  #22  
Old 04-08-04, 05:37 AM
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So it sounds like this is going to be a draw on the bet. I was right about typical residential plugs while he was right about the ones he normally uses. The plugs I bought for the house were commercial grade, so he was looking at the type he normally works with...so I'll give him a break this time as long as he is willing to give me one that is.

You guys are great! Thanks for all the input.
 
  #23  
Old 04-08-04, 08:52 PM
bungalow jeff
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Yes, I would say it's a draw. The most important thing is that you you are installing the new wiring properly.
 
  #24  
Old 04-09-04, 06:32 AM
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My favorite is the guy who wired our old rent house. He used the backstab type with the screw down clamp, but thought they were the spring grip type. So he just pushed them in. When I came home to a completely defrosted refridgerator, I checked the plug. When I took the screws off the ears of the receptacle, it fell out on the floor and left me staring at two bare wires.

As they say, either way, get somebody that knows what they are doing.
 
  #25  
Old 04-09-04, 10:42 AM
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Good story WFO. I hadn't heard of that mistake before.
 
 

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